Why we shouldn't be surprised by Disney replacing the Han Solo directors 5 years ago

Why we shouldn't be surprised by Disney replacing the Han Solo directors

Right in the middle of production, the directors of the Star Wars spin-off movie Han Solo were fired.

According to the report released this week, Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie, 21/22 Jump Street) stated: "Unfortunately, our vision and process weren't aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren't fans of the phrase 'creative differences' but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew."


Fans were shocked at the action, as Lord and Miller are highly regarded directors, and the movie is right in the middle of being made, but the reports that their comedic leanings was at loggerheads with LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy's want for a more strait-laced take would indicate that the old "artistic differences" were at play.

The thing is though, this is far from something new for Disney.

The massive production company own both LucasFilm and Marvel (and Pixar, and a few other production wings), and ever since the interstellar and comic-book based movie universes were rebooted with The Force Awakens and Iron Man respectively, some big name directors have come and gone from the director's chairs of several projects.

Within the Star Wars universe, Josh Trank was hired for an unconfirmed spin-off, rumoured to be a standalone Jango Fett movie, but a did-he-jump-or-was-he-pushed? situation arose off the back of the troubled production on his Fantastic Four reboot, and the subsequent floppy nature of that movie at the box office.


As of yet, no director has been signed on to replace Trank on the (maybe Jango) movie.

In the Marvel wing, Patty Jenkins had been hired to direct Thor: The Dark World, but the direction she wanted to take the movie - "an intergalactic Romeo & Juliet" between Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, according to Collider - wasn't what Marvel wanted, and she was replaced by Alan Taylor (Game Of Thrones, Terminator: Genisys).

All's well that end's well though, as Jenkins went on to direct Wonder Woman, and as everyone knows, that worked out pretty great for everyone.

Similarly, Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, The World's End) had been working on Ant-Man for years, but reportedly left the production when a script rewrite took place without his input. Wright was replaced by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, The Break-Up) and is hanging around for the 2018 sequel Ant-Man and The Wasp, while Wright went on to direct Baby Driver instead, which is currently sitting pretty with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing.


Marvel and LucasFilm are creating universes, and while it would be great to incorporate unique visual styles and different stories, there does need to be a certain level of homogeny throughout, because the Marvel movies are all related to each other, and ditto the Star Wars movies.

The writers and directors need to be able to bend to the overall style of the universe they're taking part in, and unfortunately, some writers and directors possess too unique a voice to be a part of the chorus.

With the news that Ron Howard has been picked to replace them in the director's chair, he has proved to be adaptable to the movies around him.

All we can hope for is that he can work with what has already been shot, and that the finished product isn't a completely messy mish-mash, where the audience plays a game of spotting which scenes belonged to Lord and Miller, and which were directed by their replacement.


We'll know for sure when the new movie arrives in May 2018.